Context: Chronic diseases (e.g. diabetes and asthma) are leading causes of death, disability and health care expenditures in Canada. Rates of chronic diseases are rapidly increasing among youth with substantial effects on the quality of life, productivity and lifelong healthcare costs. It is possible that this rapid increase is related to population-changes in early life exposures (i.e. maternal gestational obesity/diabetes or exposure to chemicals). Manitoba youth have extremely high rates of diabetes and a large proportion of Canadian children are affected by asthma (see below). The Children’s Hospital Foundation of Manitoba (CHRIM) created two research teams to bolster patient-relevant discoveries in lung/airway diseases (BoB) and obesity/diabetes (DREAM).
DEVOTION: BoB and DREAM share common goals and support core technologies, and collaborate within the DEVOTION Network. Collectively there is 10+ years of experience working as interdisciplinary provincial hubs for pediatric research, thus cementing our ability to establish the new DEVOTION Network. Andrew Halayko, Leader of the BoB theme and Jon McGavock, Co-Leader of the DREAM theme, along with more than 30 researchers spanning four pillars of research (pre-clinical, clinical, population health and policy) joined together under a translational research model.
DEVOTION integrates the strengths and infrastructure of BoB and DREAM and partners with existing knowledge users and policy makers, to create a new research cluster focused on the developmental origins of chronic disease in children. A key novel aspect of this approach is the extensive phenotyping of the epigenetics and microbiota profiles within stored biological samples, permitting unprecedented insight into novel biomarkers for disease risk and mechanisms to explain the programming of chronic disease in early life.
DEVOTION is led by a Steering Committee and includes community stakeholders, policy makers and patient advisory groups to guide research projects and share data from existing population-health intervention delivered in early childhood.
Lung disease rates in youth are very high
13% of children in Canada are affected by asthma
50% of Canadian households are affected by food allergy & anaphylaxis
6.5% of total health care costs in Canada are related to lung diseases